Increasing public pressure on people to avoid spreading the coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday joined the leaders of New Jersey and New York in a unified order to close all restaurants and bars that serve food at 8 p.m. Monday for eat-in customers.
Bars that do not serve food will close immediately, with no schedule for reopening in the health crisis. Movie theaters, gyms, fitness centers and studios will also close during the attempt to cut down on the spread of COVID-19.
Only take-out meals and food deliveries will be allowed for the foreseeable future, in attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In response, Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, indicating that the industry, including about 8,500 eating and drinking businesses and 160,000 workers, had been preparing.
“Weeks ago, Connecticut restaurants began doubling down on cleaning procedures in order to protect our customers and our employees,” Dolch said in a statement minutes after the morning conference call held with reporters from Connecticut New York and New Jersey.
“In the wake of Governor Lamont’s announcement, local restaurant owners will continue to offer safe, clean service to customers via takeout, curbside pickup and delivery,” Dolch wrote. “In the weeks ahead, we look forward to returning to full service once this difficult period has passed, so that our industry can continue to be an enormous economic driver for the state, and continue to employ tens of thousands of people throughout Connecticut.”
Gyms and movie theaters will close for an indefinite period of time starting at 8.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy joined Gov. Ned Lamont in the expanded regional effort that has already shuttered schools, ended sports seasons and disrupted life for millions of people who have been told to confine themselves to their homes until at least the end of the month.
But not enough people have taken seriously the self-quarantine suggestion, prompting the state leaders and public health officials to force more to stay at home, or at least stay away from more public places and possibly reduce the infection rate, which left unchecked could overtax hospitals.
“This is changing so fast we have to work together on a coordinated basis,” Lamont said, noting that the New Rochelle, N.Y. infections easily moved into southwestern Connecticut. Cuomo, Murphy and Lamont said they effort is the first regional effort in the nation to slow the epidemic.
“The federal government has to stand up,” Cuomo said, stressing that the response has varied around the country. “They have been behind from day one with this crisis. Coming up with the same rules on closings is imperative.”
All three states will limit gatherings to 50 people.
Lamont said he is “urging” the state’s Native American casinos to close. “This is a do-the-right-thing situation,” Cuomo added.